Friday, February 27, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

TGIF! NBA buzz is still hitting the nets, so let's link!
  • Yahoo! Sports, via Ball Don't Lie. If you didn't hear, Stephon Marbury is now officially a Celtic.
  • ProBasketballNews. David Friedman ponders whether Melo is underrated.
  • Youtube. Steph talks about the end of the Knicks terrible-era and his now official move to Boston.
  • Boston Herald. Talking about the big increase in concussions occurring in NBA players.
  • Dime Magazine. The 10 most intimidating NBA players ever.
  • Sun Sentinel. No more branded band-aid's for DWade? Come on, NBA.

Should The Cavs Retool Their Offense?

Yesterday, the Cavs offense did not look very good at all. Everything was stagnant it relied on screen's, I just didn't like it. The pre-game crew talked about how they don't like the way the play, so I wondered, can this offense win in the playoffs?

I'd say yes, but it revolves around LeBron. If LeBron can not create points for himself or his teammates, it won't work. He has to create something more than 21 points for himself. People other than him have to get acclimated with the offense early on. Also, they need to get shots up quicker. 48% of their shots come within 16-21+ seconds of shot clock usage. I don't like that. While they get 113 points per possession, I'd like to see a faster pace.

So, what do you guys think about the Cavs offense? Does it need to be faster, more efficient?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tonights Sched: TNT Night

It's a TNT night, that means there's not a lot of ball on, but we can deal with two games that could be good!

Cavs at Rockets
I like the feel I'm getting from this game. The Rockets are one of those teams that play hard and that makes you want to root for the underdog. But, you have to like an root for a team in Cleveland that has been showing everyone they can play all year. So, as a fan, I like both teams.

Intriguing Match up: Yao Ming vs. Big Z. I like this match, two very tall guys who both happen to have soft touches. Probably won't be a tremendous match up, but they both have skills that other big guys really envy.

So, the Cavs are favored by 3.5. I like the Cavs to win, but I'm not jiving with that spread. Houston at home on national TV makes me a little worried. I'd go Cavs by 2 just to be safe.

Other previews: The Dream Shake

Also, I would like to see Lakers, Suns, but certain educational commitments will force me to miss it. Sorry basketball gods, I know I have angered you.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in St. Pete This Sunday!

One of the best basketball players of all time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is going to be in St. Petersburg, Florida this Sunday, to talk about the lives of America's greatest black heroes. The event will be held here: USF St. Petersburg Campus Activities Center, corner of 2nd St. S and 6th Ave. S. St. Petersburg. 1 p.m.

I cannot wait for this event! I'm looking forward to meeting Kareem and hearing what he's got to say. There's finally a basketball legend where I live! Even for a day, it feels good to say that!

Talk Around The Hardwood

So, today I promise a longer and better dose of linkage! You pumped?

  • Fear The Sword. "Delonte West may have pushed it a little too hard, too fast. The result was pain and swelling a spot on the bench a couple nights later. After an X-Ray and a visit to a hand specialist, West has decided to return to the lineup tonight against the Rockets in Houston."
  • Magic BasketBlog. Dwight Howard getting the NBA Community Assist Award-this guy is going through PR gold right now.
  • SOHOOD. NBA players really have it tough, ....not, "(Shawn) Marion has been buying new releases (DVDs) every Tuesday like clockwork since his NBA career began nine years ago. “I’ve got a sick collection,” Marion says but has no idea exactly how many movies he has. “Every Tuesday I go get whatever new releases have come out,” he explained, “but I haven’t done any of that (in Toronto). I have to get out to Best Buy. I’m like two weeks behind in my DVDs. I got to get caught back up.”
  • Epic Carnival. Little preview of Charles Barkley's Golf Channel show, doesn't look terrible.
  • Memphis Business Journal. NBA to borrow $175 million, I don't like the sound of that.
  • Dime, via Daily Thunder.
Seems like there's a lot of talk about the NBA and this economic situation we're in. We'll see if it keeps up, I don't think it's a good thing PR-wise.

What Kind of Deal Does TNT Have With the NBA?

TNT seems to have the NBA whipped. Every Thursday, know as, "TNT NBA Thursday," TNT usually has a double header. What I've noticed is, there are almost always only two or three games on Thursdays. Why? Because, TNT wants you to watch there NBA action and, since there's no other action that night, you have to if you want NBA.

All in all, it's very smart. If people don't have tons of options for league pass, they will watch the national coverage. So, I'm going to give a thumbs up to TNT for getting that deal. Viewership should go up, the NBA probably has more money in its pocket as well.

Have you noticed any odd things about national TV coverage of the NBA? Let's hear in the comments!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

So, without further ado, let's link around the NBA!
  • The Hoop Doctors. Great looking Nike Air 1/2 Cent shoes. But even in a good economy, I wouldn't pay $190+.
  • YouTube. It's not better than Devin Harris's shot, but it's still tremendous (shot by LeBron).
  • standings. If you didn't know, the Pistons now officially are going through a downturn.
  • DraftExpress. Very cool new homepage (first time I've seen it, now sure when it came out), got give them some props!
Short links for today! I got some bigger stuff I'm working on!

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out, Marbury!

So, the Knicks have finally gotten rid of Stephon Marbury. Finally a stained Knicks era is over. But, now Marbury is on to bigger and better things.

Will he be a Boston Celtic? Probably; this will provide a real twist for the playoffs. The C's are looking a hell of a lot better off the bench. I felt a big was needed (someone better than Mikki Moore), but this could work somehow. They have Eddie House, Pruitt and others who come off of the bench to play point. Rajon Rondo would obviously be the starting point guard. Marbury will likely come off the bench. But, if I was Doc Rivers, I'd experiment with a small lineup at times. Imagine, Rondo, Marbury, Allen, Pierce and Garnett? Sounds like a lineup that could provide tons of offense. I would give it a go in practice, then break it out against the Clippers, Grizzlies, and other teams that you can experiment against.

Could he pose a problem for the C's locker room? NO, one player can not break up what they have easily. He also will be on his best behavior, he's hungry to win. Everyone will get him back in line if he gets out of line. To me, there's no worry there. But, they just need to be aware that he's a moody guy.

So, this is going to be what can help the Celtics repeat. The Lakers have better depth at PG now, but with this move, the C's can be better. The Cavs are a little weak in terms of backup PG's, but I don't know of any free agents that will be worth signing.

If Marbury goes somewhere else, that would just show you who he is. He's a guy you can never be to sure of, such an odd ball. But, I'm confident he'll be in Boston soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tonights Sched: Hope it's Good..

It's a solid 8 game night here on this NBA Tuesday. But what eight games are worth seeing?

Magic at Bulls
Two teams that made some of the bigger deals around the trade deadline. I haven't seen Miller and Salmons play for the Bulls yet, so I'm looking forward to that. Orlando just needs to keep making the playoff push, should be a nice game.

Most intriguing matchup: Derrick Rose against Rafer Alston. Close second is John Salmons against Hedo Turkoglu.

The spread for the game has Orlando favored by two. Even though I haven't seen the new Bulls, I know the Magic can pull that off easily. They are a much better team.

Blazers at Rockets
Two solid teams that play hard every night, no matter who's on the court. That's what could help this game go down to the wire.

Most intriguing matchup: Brandon Roy, who will likely be guarded by Ron Artest. Great offense against one of the best defenders in the league, someone has to come out on top (also, Battier will give him hell tonight as well).

So, get on the League Pass tonight! Hopefully we won't miss any more incredible buzzer beaters!

Talk Around The Hardwood

Ahh, link time. So, let's see what's going on around the net!
  • Hardwood Paroxysm. Basically saying Mikki Moore is not the key to Celtics repeat. Funny fake stats as well.
  • People. Congrats to Marko Jaric, he is not a very good NBA player, but he's married to Adriana Lima, so life's good!
  • Bleacher Report. Title says it all: Steve Kerr: Smarter in NBA 2K9 than in real life.
  • Detroit Bad Boys. Antonio McDyess quote, "We don’t have that one guy that steps in, get on a person for doing something wrong." “We have certain nights where one person would say something, and another would, but we need that one person who will be there, and we know that they got our back and that they’ll get on us when we do wrong and direct us when we’re going wrong. We don’t have that."
  • Peachtree Hoops. Mike Woodson's five best coaching moves.
More linkage tomorrow! Can you wait for it?

Some Thoughts on Last Night

Last night was a pretty good night for some NBA basketball. Thought time!
  • If you didn't see it yet, Devin Harris is awesome. Best buzzer beater I've seen in a while.
  • How harsh are Knick fans? Newly acquired Larry Hughes is already being booed. Even though he started 0-5 for the game, they need to give the guy more time.
  • Box score reaction: 41 for Nate Robinson? He played well for Will Ferrell, gave him an autographed jersey after the win.
  • Another Box score reaction: Brian Scalabrine scored five last night, putting his average to 9.5 PPG as a starter (last two games). Looking at how the minutes were spread out last night, it wouldn't surprise me if the C's brought Scal off the bench and started Powe or Davis.
  • The Jazz are really hitting their stride. Very solid wins recently, Boozer was back against the Hawks and had 2 points, and 5 boards for a +/- of 1.
So, what did you see last night? Anything noteworthy?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tonights Sched: Offense, Offense, Offense!

A six game Monday, we'll be looking for some high scoring affairs!

Hawks at Jazz
The Jazz have turned up the Heat lately, the Hawks need to make their stretch run. Two teams both hungry and looking to come out on top tonight!

Utah is favored by 7.5, because it's in Utah, I'd say it's a safe pick. If Deron keeps turning up the heat, they could win by double-digits.

Celtics at Nuggets
This is certainly the game of the night. Boston needs to keep sending a message that they can win without KG, Denver just needs to get back on track. Should be fun, this is one I will try to see some of!

The Celtics are favored by 1.5, but I like Denver to disappoint C's fans. They may not win, but I think it will be pretty close!

Catch everything NBA guys! I love this game, don't you? By the way, no Talk Around the Hardwood today, I need to get off the computer!

Playoff Power Rankings!

Today I've got the first version of my playoff power rankings. Yesterday, I laid the basis for how these rankings will be done. Let's get it started!

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: This team is on a mission to go all the way now. They come out and beat up on everyone, no matter what their record is. The went 3-0 last week and two of the three were on the road. I am also impressed with how Delonte West came back. He looked great, no problems that were really noticeable.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: While the Lakers are the most talented team in league, they are not the best. They fall apart at times, their defense is horrid for about a half quarter a game and they don't usually get up for the bad teams. While they went 4-0 last week, they showed a very poor defensive effort against the team with the worst record of the four-the Timberwolves. They can get #1 if they want, they just need to steal the Cavs intensity.

3. Boston Celtics: Rondo and Allen are willing this team right now. They are playing well as always, but will struggle a bit without KG. 1-1 on the week, but there schedule won't be too tough this week.

4. Orlando Magic: They have played pretty well with the addition of Rafer Alston. Their offense hasn't been as crisp as it usually is, but as Rafer gets more accommodated, that will come. I really like their D, it's gotten a lot better. They went 3-1 for a solid week.

5. San Antonio Spurs: Even though the last couple of opponents have been easy, they are always consistent. With tons of three's this year, the only thing holding the Spurs back is the Lakers and better defense. 2-1 for the week, consistent as always.

6. Utah Jazz: They have put together some real quality wins lately. At home, they've beaten the Hornets, Celtics and Lakers recently. Boozer is supposed to be back pretty soon, Williams is hitting his stride, look out for Utah! 3-0 for a perfect week!

7. Portland Trail Blazers: While their week was a pretty easy (Grizz, excluding the Hawks, and Clipps), I like the way the pieces are coming together for them. 3-0 for the week, they have a chance to show any haters wrong if they beat the Spurs Wednesday.

8. Atlanta Hawks: They have not been great lately, but they've been solid all year. Looking ahead, there March sched. looks tough, but they'll have a chance to end the season strong. Don't give up on the young ones! 1-2 on the week, don't look for that to improve this week.

9. Denver Nuggets: While I like the way they've played this year, they've dropped the ball recently. J.R. was forcing shots in their loss against the Bucks, Billups looks a little out of rhythm and if teams realize what they Bucks did, they can exploit their offense with ease (try to keep the ball out of Chauncey's hands!). There worst loss came to an undermanned Bulls team (after the trade, before the new players came), they lost to a team that played about seven guys! They're better than that! 1-2 last week, LA and the Celts come to Denver this week.

10. Houston Rockets: While everyone knows this team will not contend for a title as it was supposed to, they are a team that always fights. Despite what some would say is not a difficult week, they went 3-0 and let's remember this is the NBA.

11. New Orleans Hornets: Health has really hindered this teams success, but they are beginning to shape up a bit. 2-2 for the week, but the beat the Magic soundly, that's impressive.

12. Dallas Mavericks: While they are sitting at sixth in the West, they are playing alright and would be a cool fourth if they were in the East. If this team was really consistent, they could be alright, but as they are now, they will never really be talked about. 2-1 week, going into what should be at worst a 3-1 week.

13. Miluakee Bucks: I had to give them the nod over the Heat for two reasons: (1) The Heat lost to the Timberwolves and (2), they play everyone tough and stole one from Denver. 2-2, they play well this week and they might go 2-1.

14. Miami Heat: Almost have home court in the playoffs, but can't win when a guy scores 50. Does that tell you how much better the low tier of the Western conference is? They can't do much once they get to the playoffs, unless DWade goes nuts. 1-2 on the week, tisk tisk!

15. Philidelphia 76ers: They have been up and down lately, but I like them more than the Pistons. 0-3 on the week, they could go 3-1 this week.

16. Detroit Pistons: Can't believe they've fallen this far. They stink. That's all I have to say. 0-3 week, who cares about this season for them anymore.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Approach to Power Rankings!

One of the hot things for basketball websites to do is rank teams weekly based on current play. They call them power rankings and when you search NBA power rankings on Google, there's almost three million results. So, I'm also going to start doing my own, but with a little twist!

I only care about playoff teams
Does it matter that the Clippers moved back to 29th in the latest ESPN power rankings? Of course not, everyone knows they're out of the playoff race, only die hards will really want to know what's up with them. If you're like me, you probably haven't seen them at all, or in very limited time. So, I'm going to weed out teams that won't make the playoffs from my rankings. The exception: teams that are on the outside looking in (Bulls, Knicks and Suns). I'm not going to go all out to touch on them, but if they've had a good week, they'll be mentioned.

Don't rank from the get-go
People rank from the beginning of the season to the end-why? At the earliest, I'd start a quarter of the way in, probably when ABC starts to get head-to-head contender match ups ideally. While you need to set a tone as a team from the start, I feel you don't need to look at these teams when they're not in mid-season form.

So, with all that said, I will start my rankings tomorrow! They're not power rankings, they're Playoff Power Rankings!

Todays Sched: Get Your National TV Fix

Of the 9 games on schedule today, the three on national TV are probably the best. Doesn't happen often, so all of you without league pass need to watch basketball today!

Celtics at Suns
The Suns players know this is pretty much a statement game for them. They have been playing great lately, but it's been against terrible competition. Well, now they can test their old running ways on the C's. If you don't remember the last time they played, it's because it was a blowout, the Celtics won big. Even though that was in Boston and the C's had a healthy KG, this is still a very good Celtics team.

I'm going with the Suns to take this one. They have momentum from the last three games and Boston has been up and down over this last stretch. For all you bettors, the Suns are favored by 2, I'd take that, but close my eyes if it comes down to the wire (in past situation, Phoenix defensive execution has been poor late in games).

Other previews: Bright Side of the Sun, CelticsBlog

Miami at Orlando
A nice Florida battle for you! This one intrigues me because both teams have recently made moves. Orlando brought in Alston and Miami brought JO. This will be a game for everyone in the country to get a look at what these teams are trying to do with their new pieces.

While Alston is a solid point guard, Mario Chalmers is a feisty rookie who won't let him get anything easy. Down low, JO is in for a long evening with D12. It will show you the difference between older legs and D12's springs.

I like the Magic to come out on top, not a blowout, but they'll lead for most of the game. The line for the game has the Magic favored by 9, I'd want to see a quarter or two before saying that's safe or not.

Other previews: Third Quarter Collapse, Peninsula is Mightier

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tonights Sched: OK, I guess

So, if you are doing nothing tonight, there's some decent basketball on.

Hornets at Jazz
This could be a great game. Last night, the Hornets game LA a run for their money and Paul Millsap vs. David West could be fun. If you're in, catch this one!

Other previews: Hornets247, SLC Dunk

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tonights Sched: Lots on Tap

Lots of action on tap this Friday! There are 11 games tonight, but what's worth watching?

Thunder at Suns
Since I'm hearing the Bulls new players won't be available tonight, this will be my game to watch until Lakers-Hornets. I want to see how the Suns play under Gentry (even though A'mare's out), I did not see them slash the Clipps. I also know it won't be near as easy to blowout the Thunder, they play hard. The last time each team played each other, both situations were very different. The Thunder were losing a lot more (they have been better, but they're still up and down) and the Suns were probably still trying to slow it down on offense.

The Suns will win, but I'm betting Durant gets 35+ points. He's been on a hell of a tear lately. For bettors, the Suns are favored by 7.5. That's a solid bet, but you never know when the Thunder will steal a game.

Other previews: Daily Thunder, Valley of the Suns

Hornets at Lakers
This will be somewhat close, or a Lakers blowout. I haven't been a huge Hornets fan this year, the only way they can play with a contender is a big night from CP3 or David West. They simply don't have enough to contend with the big dogs. Still, anytime you have Kobe and CP3, you have entertainment.

The Lakers are favored by 8.5. That is a little more worrying to me, I would bet on the Suns before I bet against CP3 having a big game in LA. But, LA should win by 5+.

Other previews: Hornets247, Forum Blue & Gold

So sit back tonight and enjoy some Friday hoops!

Talk Around The Hardwood

It's Friday, I love the weekend! I just got 2k9, NBA season's back in full force, what could be better? Let's link!
  • The Basketball Jones. It's finally back! Just in time for a weekend break..
  • Knicker Blogger. Talking about the Knicks deals yesterday, they made some gains for cap relieve this summer.
  • Ball in Europe. Larry Brown's name is being thrown around for the French National Team (to coach).
  • The Hoop Doctors. How to pick win a winning NCAA bracket.
  • Cuzoogle. Another funny Raptors themed Photoshop.
That's all folks!

No Scoop This Week

Sorry guys, no Scoop this week. I am going to have one next week though, look out for that! Sorry about that, I know it's a feature I always look forward to doing, but I didn't plan it in time.

NBA Simulators are Getting Good

So, yesterday I was very happy to finally get NBA 2k9 for Xbox 360. To say the least, I was impressed. I got to update the game with the most recent roster moves throughout the league, start The Association with the Raps as my team, and just get used to a solid NBA game. So, this got me thinking, how close are NBA games to being everything we expected?

Well, they are one or two years away. Technology will always be getting better, there will be room for improvement, but once they fully capture the attitude and feeling of the game, I'll be really happy. Eliminate the non-human feel, the almost emotionless expressions on players faces, let us feel what they feel. Using KG as an example, make us feel his intensity as the game goes on, let him finger wag in front of Calderon. Once they improve on the little things, the game will improve big time. I'm hoping a feature like that wouldn't just be for stars, they need to let psychologists slowly look at certain teams and update their game accordingly.

I could be picky about the gameplay itself and say guys run a little too fast at times, or they make shots they shouldn't, but I think the way the game is played is fine. Just add the attitude and atmosphere of the arena, a human idea, nothing that appears awkward, nothing that is an odd human interaction. That mixed with the games we currently have are the perfect formula for a winning game, a game that would rule over all others.

Doing that will not be an easy task. But great games don't try to take the easy route. So come on EA Sports and 2k Sports, tap into the feeling the NBA evokes!

Also, I direct this question to readers: how close are NBA games to being everything we expected?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Trades?

It sounds like the Magic really are trying to make a run this year, they are going to get Rafer Alston in a three-way deal. This is big, it's going to keep them going strong without Jameer Nelson. More on this can be found at ESPN, HoopsHype and Insidehoops, check those for the breaking news on deals.

Also, this deal:
New York gets: G Larry Hughes, F Chris Wilcox
Chicago gets: F Tim Thomas, G Anthony Roberson, C Jerome James
Oklahoma City gets: F Malik Rose

This is interesting, the Knicks trade away a couple of guys they don't use and get two guys who could be rotation players. Also, there deals are all up in 2010 (the deal breaker for any Knicks trade).

One other:
Minnesota gets: F Sheldon Williams, G Bobby Brown
Sacramento gets: G Rashad McCants, C Calvin Booth

This deal doesn't really matter in the long run, but two of the players dealt are decent (Williams and McCants). They won't affect anything, but they shouldn't hurt anything either.

Trade day! I like seeing movement, but it's tough to keep up with it! If anything else goes down, I'll talk about it hear.

My Thoughts on Yesterdays Trades

The trade deadline is today and yesterday there was lots of activity. Will their be more today? I don't know, there's lots of talk and we'll see who makes a move. I will tell you how went where yesterday and what I think about the deals.

Bulls get: Brad Miller, John Salmons
Kings get: Andrés Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Ike Diogu and Cedric Simmons.
Blazers get: Michael Ruffin (probably will be waived)

This is a clear cap dump for the Kings. They want to save money and they realize they need to trade the guys on their team that have talent. I like this deal for Chicago. Rose can now pair with a legitimate low post scorer in Miller and Salmons can do more all around than Nocioni. Plus the Bulls need a shake up, it will spur them on for the stretch run of the season.

The Blazers simply made a cap move. They give up someone who didn't play and say money, good move by one of the best general managers in the league.

There were other minor moves around the league, but they were really just for cap and roster space. Also, the Thunder rescinded the Tyson Chandler trade. This is big, I hope TC's health will hold up so he can play in his prime.

What do you think of yesterdays trades? What's going to happen today?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

So, last night I got a nice taste of the action, but tonight I'm ready for more! Don't punch me Zach Randolph! Let's link!
  • Fear The Sword. "To be honest, I was of the opinion all along that a move would be a big mistake for the Cavs. I could go into psychological reasons that venture deep into the human spirit, but thankfully for the both of us I need only point to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns were one of the winningest franchises in the NBA the last 5 years before making a move at the deadline last year the substantially changed the makeup of their team."
  • MoonDog Sports. Charles Barkley is going to be in a reality TV show about golf. Should be entertaining.
  • Lots of sites. Everyone's going crazy about this trade deadline. Hoopsworld thinks the Cavs are interested in Antawn Jamison, BDL had a trade deadline chat, everyone has something to say. My question is, are the teams contending going to make a big move? Not likely, but maybe the Cavs. That's really all I care about. I do like to know if the Kings are going to have a firesale, but it's not something I want to go crazy about. After this deadline, people are going to begin looking only at the teams that will contend come June.
  • 48 Minutes of Hell. Talking Spurs trade rumors.
  • Daily Thunder. Breaking down four key possesions from a Thunder loss.
  • Hardwood Paroxysm. "Also, I figured out who Pau reminds me of: Mr. Tumnus, the faun from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Granted, this could be seen as an insult to Mr. Tumnus (and James McAvoy)."

Tonights Sched: Don't go Crazy

Just as I said in the title, don't go nuts about tonights games. They are not very good. But, if you like seeing teams score lots of points, it could be a decent night for you.

Denver at Philly
Based on their last matchup, this could be one of the better games of the night. The Sixers are due for a home win. They have not been playing very well lately, something Denver has been doing since they got Billups.

While the Sixers are due, it might be hard for them to do. Last time they played, the Nuggets didn't have Melo. The Nuggets still won by four. They're coming off a loss to the Pacers as well. So, I'm going to go Nuggets by 3+.

Honarble Mentions: Lakers at Warriors and Suns at Clippers. Why? If you want offense, trust me, these games are for you!

Contemplating The New Age Spurs

The Spurs are starting to end an era of tough defense and half court offense. Gone will be the old school bank shots, and players being totally put out of a game offensively. They will now bring in an era of three point shots and athletically gifted guards. How will the NBA function without a back to basics approach?

It's good because..
Fans that think the Spurs are boring will change their minds. People want to see George Hill run in for an athletic slam and they want to see the Red Rocket shoot three's from his shoulder. It will move the NBA fully into a new era (the Cavs are kind of still in defense mode, but they can score as well). Defense is becoming out of style and as bad as that is, every team is moving towards a more offensive approach.

I like it because I want to see people other than Tim Duncan, Parker and Ginobili provide highlights. We as a basketball republic (the world) can begin to appreciate what the Roger Mason's and the Matt Bonner's do for teams. If people can do that, the Kobe's and the LeBron's would be rated lower and the people that deserve praise can get what they deserve.

It's bad because
We are losing the fundamentals at an incredibly fast rate. I am not a huge fan of slow, grind it out basketball, but everyone needs to know how play it. Defense has to be there, or it might as well be a layup drill.

So, what do you think? Are the Spurs becoming a team that could run and gun and forget defense?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Talk Around the Hardwood

First day with the NBA back in full force! There's tons of trade talk out there, let's find the best and link them up!

  • Celtics Hub. Some analysis on why the C's sent Sam Cassell to the Kings (he'll likely be waved).
  • Rufus on Fire. This might let you know it's a Bobcats blog, "Back to the NBA grind, where hope happens. Or lack of it, as the case may be."
  • Pickaxe and Roll. They wrote about the Nuggets trade value. Do the Nuggets have trade value? Some, but they're probably not going to do much.
  • InsideHoops. Tyson Chandler's off to the Thunder. Are the Hornets forgetting about a title and thinking about their cap situation?
  • Blog a Bull. The title says it all, "Back to the topic of the Bulls VP of Basketball Operations quitting and being a quitter."
  • Slam Online. The Best and Worst of All-Star 2009.
  • The Arizona Republic. How much money is spent over All-Star weekend? The impact's about $35 million.
    This is the last video from All-Star you have to see:

Tonights Sched: Back on my Grind!

Now that All-Star is over, it's time to finish the second half of the season! I'm ready, are you?

Spurs at Knicks
The only reason this is appealing is because the Spurs are 26th in pace rank and the Knicks are 2nd. I want to see how the Spurs approach a team with a totally different style. Last time they played, the Knicks lost by 12 in San Antonio. But the last time they played it was early November. Both teams have grown considerably since then.

I do like the Spurs to win, but they'll give them a run for their money until the stretch run of the third. Then the Spurs will put on the jets.

Hawks at Lakers
Kobe vs. Joe Johnson. That's the first thing that appeals to me about this game. But really, my eye has kind of been off of the Hawks the last couple of weeks and I want to see if they come out determined to set a tone for this half of the season.

LA will come out with a bad quarter or quarter and a half. It will steem from a little All-Star hangover. Then, they'll come back and take it, close, but with LA clearly in control.

Honorable Mention: Clippers at Suns-first game for Terry Porter's replacement. Should be fun to see how much they run.

What are you looking forward to seeing in the second half of the season?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Late Talk Around The Hardwood

All-Star weekend is now over and tomorrow we'll go back to watching normal NBA action. But until then, let's look at what you should read today!
  • Third Quarter Collapse. Interview with David Thorpe, they talk next years draft, the Knicks, LBJ 2010 hype, etc.
  • Blaze of Love. Kellex talks about what happened over the weekend. If you lived under a whole for that time, definitely check it out.
  • Cuzoogle. If you didn't catch this yesterday, it's a funny Photoshop of Shawn Marion. Laugh, it's Monday!
  • DraftExpress. Breaking down Greg Oden from his college play to now.
  • NBA's YouTube channel. If you missed some highlights from there, check their YouTube page out. That should pretty much have you covered. One I love was when AI revealed his new hairstyle.
No games tonight, so watch the CBS Monday lineup! I like it from 8-9:30 pm Eastern!

The West Wins!

So, if you don't know, the West took the All-Star game 146-119. Kobe and Shaq were co-MVP's. All I have to say is, I called it!! I said KB24 and Shaq could share the crown at the end. It was a little different than I expected it to be though. Kobe came out shooting early, Shaq came on in the third. He came on because a guy like Rashard Lewis can not guard Shaq. No way, no how.

I thought the game overall was well played. Not a very sloppy first half. The West just made more shots than the East. Plain and simple, the East didn't score enough.

What was your favorite moment from All-Star 09? Let's hear in the comments!
Photo by: Bill Baptist

Sunday, February 15, 2009

So, It's All-Star Game Time!

Forget all the other events, it's time for the big game! Kobe, Shaq, Phil, against LBJ, DWade, D12, the whole bunch!

Should be fun!!!!

Who ya got?
Ummmm, I'm going to go West by a margin of 3-5. Do I think I'm really right? Not really, if LBJ and DWade go nuts, the West could be blown out. But I'm thinking that Kobe and Shaq could be co-MVP's. Shaq will make the push in the bench minutes he gets and Kobe could ice the finish. It would certainly be a funny sitatuion for KB24 and the Big Cactus to share center stage when all is said and done.

Reader, Who ya got 2 win the game and who's your MVP?

Friday, February 13, 2009 is Taping Everything All-Star! has out done themselves this year. The All-Star Scene is filming tons of what's going on at All-Star. You should check it out, they have video of players just getting to the game! Now that's having a little too much time! But, really I'm sure it will have some good, candid moments.


The Scoop With Ryen!

So, it's Scoop time! This week we've got Ryen, the man behind Welcome to Loud City, a tremendous Thunder blog you should read.

1. So going into the All-Star break the Thunder are 4-6 in their last 10 games. How do you think they've played over that stretch?

It’s a big of a mixed bag to be honest, however, there is no question this team is playing tremendously better now than in their 3-29 start. There are some really solid wins in that group as well as disappointing losses. It seems like the losses always stand out in our heads more than wins do, so I’ll get to that first. The biggest disappointment was the first game of this 10 game stretch against the LA Clippers. The Clippers came into that game, I think, with 8 players dressed, and one of those got hurt in the first four minutes of the game. Going up against another of the league’s worst teams, especially when they had a roster that was decimated due to injuries, you expect the team to take care of business, even on the road. Then of course on Super Bowl Sunday, they lost to the Sacramento Kings in overtime. On the flipside, the Thunder had terrific wins at home against the Nets and Blazers. They also played the Nuggets tough at home, right up until the end when Carmelo stole the win in the same fashion he’d done a month ago. You pair that up with a strong performance against the league’s best team, and despite a 4-6 record over their last 10, you have to be encouraged. On a bigger picture scale, the Thunder are 10-11 since December 31st and once again remembering the 3-29 start, it’s hard not to be excited about the progress the team has made this season.

2. I feel this All-Star weekend is a minor coming out party for Kevin Durant (he'll be in the H-O-R-S-E and Rookie-Sophomore game). How important is this for KD's mental stamina for the next half of the season?

I don’t think All-Star weekend is really important to him at all. KD is a rare guy in the sense that he has the talent level to become the next great NBA Superstar, but he doesn’t have the ego to with it. The guy is a hardworking gym right always working hard to improve his game, and improve the team’s chances of winning. So, while he may enjoy the All-Star weekend, don’t expect it to go to his head. He’ll be right back in the gym working hard as soon as he gets home. After all, this is the same guy who said he doesn’t deserve any consideration to be on the All-Star team because his team isn’t winning. The way he’s been playing in 2009, I feel sorry for anyone trying to cover him if he somehow manages to improve even more the rest of the season.

3. The Thunder get tons of points from Durant every night. How balanced is their offense and what do they need to add to become more balanced?

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of balance on this team right now. They don’t have a dominating inside presence, and they lack a serious threat from the wing. The team is so young, its really hard to have any kind of balance at all because of the swings that young players go through on a night to night basis. Just looking at Russell Westbrook this year will tell you that, at times he looks like he can really turn himself into a premier point guard in the league, and the next night will make so many boneheaded mistakes you wonder why they didn’t just leave him at shooting guard. I think as the team matures and adds a few more pieces, the offense will became more balanced, but for now we’re dealing with young guys growing and going through growing pains each night.

4. Now that Oklahoma City has had this team for a while how has the reaction been? Does the public respect Seattle for giving you the team (I know their recent game in Portland spawned a lot of conversation)?

To be honest, I don’t feel like I’m close enough to the City (Live about 2 hours away) to know what the reaction of the general public in Oklahoma City has been. During games, it’s very clear that the people there have not only fully embraced the team, but grown to love them already. I’ve never been in an environment where the fans are as into the game as the fans in Oklahoma City. The fans chant defense from the first possession to the last, and have the ability to get so loud that you’ll leave the game with your head pounding. As far as the Seattle stuff goes, I don’t think people in Oklahoma City think twice about it, they’re just happy to have a team of their own to cheer for, something we’ve never had in Oklahoma (Major Professional Level). Personally, I have been a Sonics fan for years, and it really was bittersweet for me to see the team go. On one hand, my favorite team is no longer in the league, and on the other, I got the thing I’ve been wanting since I was a kid, a Professional team in my home state. So being a Seattle fan, I can sympathize with those hardcore Sonic fans out there who are outraged the team is going, and it totally sucks for them. There is nothing worse than rooting for a team, possibly your entire life, only to have it taken away from you. Hopefully the NBA will return to Seattle someday and we can see the Sonics play the Thunder. Hey, it happened for the Colts/Ravens/Browns didn’t it? Here is to hoping Seattle gets another team.

5. The Thunder are likely to get a high pick in this years draft (probably not #1 anymore, but a high pick). A combo guard or a big man that can do it on both ends could help them. Let's say they add someone like Blake Griffin, or Brandon Jennings. Would that give them the best young core in the league?

I don’t know if it’s the best young core in the league, I mean, look what Portland is already doing with a young team, but they are definitely on their way. Sam Presti was a guy who came up in the Spurs organization, and it really seems like all the knowledge he gained there has paid off. He’s made moves that a lot of Sonic/Thunder fans didn’t agree with, but after enough time passed, I think the general consensus always seems to be that he made the right moves. When you consider the core group they have now, a high draft pick coming this year, plus a boatload of other teams first round picks, tons of cap space available over the next three years, it certainly seems like this team is poised to be really competitive in 2-3 seasons from now. You would definitely be hard pressed to find a franchise in a rebuilding stage with a better all around situation than this team.

6. How do you stay cheery about the Thunder when are 13-40? Is it the long term payoff you know you'll get soon enough?

I think a lot of it still has to do with the newness of the team, I mean seriously, this is the first time we’ve ever had a professional franchise (of our own) to cheer for. More importantly, the thing that will keep Thunder fans going to games and interested is watching these young players grow and develop. It’s really something else to see players grow right in front of your eyes and improve from one night to the next. With this being the first ever season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, it’s almost as if the Franchise, Players, and Fans, are all learning and growing together. It really feels like we’re a part of them and that we’re all building toward this long term goal of success that we can all see down the road in our heads.

7. Speaking of that payoff, how many years until we start talking about the playoffs for this team?

I really think this team will make the playoffs in the 2010-2011 Season, and a serious contender thereafter. Maybe I’m biased, but I think the Thunder can win another 15 or so games this season (25 total for the year), and follow that up with a 10 game improvement next season finishing just outside the playoffs. In 2010-11, I fully expect this to be a 45+ win team. With a young team like this, it’s really hard to predict just how quickly they can start winning more games, but from what I’ve seen this past month, everything I mentioned above seems entirely possible.

8. What's the potential for Jeff Green? He's got all the skills pretty much, could he be an All-Star,
or will he be a over average role player, borderline star?

Jeff Green is a guy that is often overshadowed by Kevin Durant, and rightly so, but he’s a budding star in his own right. His improvement from last season to this is spectacular, and if he continues on that path, there is no reason he can’t be an All-Star throughout his career. Will he ever be an NBA Superstar, I don’t know for sure, but I think he’s a guy that’s going to have long-term success in the league, hopefully with the OKC Thunder.

9. How is the Thunder fan base on the internet? This team is the latest to make a location change since the Bobcats came about, so I feel this is the first team to start in the thick of the Internet era.

Honestly it seems to be pretty strong (for a relocated team, weak compared to established teams), as far as fans reading about the team. When I moved the site from Thunder in OKC to the SBNation ( I saw a lot more fan interaction in terms of comments. For the most part, Thunder fans don’t even know there are websites out there about the Thunder, which is a big reason I try to have links to other active Thunder blogs on my site. I think as the team settles in over the next few years it will get stronger and stronger. The longer the team is in OKC, the more and more fans it will attract, and the more of those that will branch out to the internet for conversation and reading. There are a couple of fan forums around for the Thunder (namely that seem pretty active. OKC Thunder fans has over 500 members, and 16,000 posts, not bad for a new team.

10. What has been a Thunder fans worst day of the season so far and the best day for a Thunder fan so far?

Worst day is probably the day that Desmond Mason went down and was ruled out for the rest of the season. Mason is a local guy who does a lot for this team, and the community, and for him to be out for the rest of the season was a big blow to the team, the team’s defense, and fans. Of course the countless games lost in the final minutes/seconds are a close second. The best day was probably last Friday when the Thunder lead wire-to-wire and beat the Portland Trail Blazers at home in Loud City, a QUALITY win.

11. I feel that the Thunder and the Pacers are teams that make the best of their talent gap (meaning they do the best with what they've got). Who's behind that for the Thunder? Why aren't they throwing the towel in like the Wizards? Don't they want a high draft pick?

The Players on this team are hungry, these guys WANT to win, and despite their record, continue to work hard and improve. The fans also won’t let these guys throw in the towel, if the Thunder are out there playing hard, the crowd is right there cheering them on like crazy. Example, this past weekend against the Kings, the Thunder had blown a big league and the Kings were on a dominating stretch where the Thunder were struggling. The crowd went nuts chanting, cheering, and doing everything they could to let the team know they were behind them, and despite this run, we believed they could still win the game, which of course they went on to do, 116-113.

Want to know more about Ryen?

Here's his profile:

Ryen (Mr Pappagiorgio) – Welcome to Loud CityI pride myself in keeping the fans updated on a daily basis, and a lot of times, more than once per day. If I had to describe the blog, I'd call it "Water-Cooler" blogging, giving you guys enough information so you don't look like an idiot tomorrow at the water cooler when your buddies are all talking Thunder Basketball.

Breaking News: Porter Fired!

Weird timing, but I heard from Ben over at Ben's Suns Blog. Check over there for more updates.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood: All-Star Edition

All-Star time!! Anyway, let's link, I'm going to try to find only All-Star stuff!
  • Little info on the H-O-R-S-E competition, "The contest will take place outdoors at the NBA's All-Star Block Party on Saturday in Phoenix before TNT televises the All-Star Saturday night festivities. Players will have 24 seconds to execute their shots, and an NBA referee will rule if they're done properly. Dunking won't be allowed."
  • RootZoo. This guy Guy Dupuy has a lot of nice YouTube dunks, he wanted to be in this years dunk contest.
  • SI. Ten All-Star games to remember.
  • Gunaxin. Ten great basketball shots to use in horse.
  • daily dose of Sports. Top five NBA All-Star logos, I like the Dallas game logo the most.
  • Gunaxin. Some nice dunks, not from the dunk contest, but they're nice!
So, not a lot of games tonight but who cares! Now it's all about All-Star baby!

All-Star Thoughts!

So, I have All-Star fever! Maybe it's because last night's games were not that memorable (probably because I was only able to see the first quarter of Lakers-Jazz).

First, let's talk Rookie-Sophomore game. I actually like the Rookie roster more. The only thing that is against them is experience (and a big night from Kevin Durant). They should have a more balanced attack than the Sophomore's, who, like I said, might be scoring through Durant a lot.

Close game, rookie team will win by 1-3 points. Think different, let's hear in the comments!

I'd rather not talk about the Shooting Stars and the Skill challenge, they are not very entertaining.

The H-O-R-S-E competition on the other hand, could be fun. Kevin Durant, Joe Johnson and OJ Mayo will compete. I think Durant will be the most creative. This is his coming out arty to the national crowd, he's going to come up big. I honestly don't know who to pick here. Johnson has the best ability to shoot long shots, that makes me want to pick him. But Durant and Mayo will be more creative, do something people might not have done before.

Skipping over the Shooting Stars and Skill Challenge, let's talk about the Dunk Contest. Contestants: J.R. Smith, Dwight Howard, Rudy Fernandez, and Nate Robinson. Let's eliminate Rudy from the conversation first of all. He's a nice in game dunker, but won't show as well a dunk contest.

I'm going to pick Howard, followed by Smith, then Robinson. Smith will give him the best run for his money, even though he was a late addition to the contest. What will ultimately stop him is D12 and his dunk contest legacy. Last year he went out and did a tremendous job with the superman cape. Now this year, he's going to have to go out, come close to what he did last year and hang up the cape for good. I bet this will be his last dunk contest, so he'll want to win it.

So, now I'm ready for Friday through Sunday night! Are you?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Late Talk Around The Hardwood- Feb. 11th

So, All-Star countdown, we're really close. While we wait, let's link to some good stuff..
  • KnickerBlogger. "You can also see why it’s likely that the Knicks will try to move Harringon, Q and even Duhon - if not now, then by the 2010 trade deadline. When their contracts end in 2010, they linger as “cap holds” until the Knicks re-sign them or formally renounce them. Duhon’s cap hold, the smallest of the three, would still take up $7.8 million of that cap space."
  • The Dream Shake. "Ummmmmm, Go Rockets?!?!"
  • YouTube. Remember Jason Kapono's three point montage at last years All-Star game? Here it is!
  • on 205th. "Holy crap, Katarina Van Derham is hot."
Very short linkage today! Sorry about that. Tomorrow we'll have more and make it All-Star themed!

Tonights Sched: It's Aight!

I actually thought tonight's games weren't going be that great. They are actually going to be a solid slew of NBA games. So, here's what I think is worth seeing!

Denver at Orlando
Let's see what the Magic look like without Nelson. Billups is going to test how these backups can perform. He will use his quickness to test them, something I want to see.

(Preview: Third Quarter Collapse)

So, watch that one! Also, catch Lakers at Jazz, I think it's time for a Laker loss, the Jazz game them a good run last time as well.

12 games, one night! Flip around as much as possible!

Some Thoughts on Last Night!

I saw the Cavs lose there second (first time this season) in a row to Indy, here are my thoughts!

  • Close call late. LBJ basically made a lob to Granger impossible to make. Looks like a good call though. LJ got the call, basically same thing happens, Granger deserves the call. My thoughts on the first foul were different. That should have been a no call, end of game. The reason the second was also a foul is because ref's have to make consistent calls.
  • Was there possibly a better way for the Cavs to defend? I mean, I know Granger has to be contained, I'm honestly not sure on that one. Any ideas on what the Cavs should have done defensively for .4 seconds?
  • Even though the Pacers are 21-32, I really respect their effort. They are well coached and they go out every night and use their strengths to try and win.
  • Pat on the back to Jim O'Brien. He has done a solid job and has earned my stamp of approval credit for how hard they play.
  • Travis Diener fits really nicely into the Pacers system. I am not surprised why the Pacers want to give up Tinsely, they have solid guard play.
  • LBJ looked frustrated with the loss. He was ready to leave before Granger intentionally missed the last free throw. This shows how the greatest think: just because he scored 47 points, he wasn't satisfied because his team lost.

What did you see in last nights 9 games? Let's hear in the comments!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood- Feb. 10th

Just three more days until All-Star festivities, couldn't come soon enough! So, let's link our way around the league!
  • Third Quarter Collapse. Yesterday was Jameer Nelson's 27th birthday. His present? Sitting out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
  • SPORTSbyBROOKS. DWade used his condo for sex parties?
  • Slam Online. This video sums up how topsy-turvy the rockets season has been:
  • Hardwood Paroxysm. "Nash and Amare for T-Mac, Artest and Rafer. I am not kidding."
  • The Hoop Doctors. Looking at Kevin Durant's signature shoe, the KD1's, not to shabby!
  • Cuzoogle. Funny A-Rod photoshop!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Tonights Sched: Insert interesting title here...

I am not impressed by tonight's NBA schedule (tomorrow doesn't improve by much either, NBA fans). In fact, David Stern probably wants to baby the stars so they can perform at All-Star this weekend!

Anyway, none of the games are truly worth watching tonight. My recommendation: if you've got league pass and time to watch sub par pro basketball, flip through the games and try to keep track of any close games in the fourth. Works for pretty much every night! NBA TV only people, you've got Suns at Sixers. Could be OK. Probably a hell of a lot better than Hornets (without any stars) at Memphis. Could be one of the lowest attended games ever.

Sorry for the downer post, but at least it's All-Star weekend in a few days!!!

Talk Around The Hardwood- Feb. 9th

It's Monday, back to the blogging grind!
  • StarTribune, via Canis Hoopus. Al Jefferson's probably down for the year with a torn knee ligament, sucks for Wolves fan. On the optimistic side, this will give rookie Kevin Love a chance to get more minutes, helping management see his full potential. Also, they may get a higher draft pick (sorry, that means more losing, Timberwolves fans).
  • Josh Q. Public. Is Boom Dizzle Still Alive?
  • Cavs: The Blog. This sums up the Cavs first home loss-"This is not my favorite day to have a Cavalier blog."
  • Bright Side of The Sun. An open thread on Amare trade rumors? Come on, I know they're shopping him, but unless they're general managers in the thread, I don't think you'll be on the cutting edge.
  • Blazer's Edge. Free Darko night! Wish I was in Portland! Sounds fun!
  • on 205th, and Hot Celebrity Asses. Look, I know it's a Monday, Monday's suck! So, here's a hot girl, and here's another hot girl (insert virtual pat on the back, here and here; sorry to any girls reading this, maybe next week I'll have some guy linked!).
Did we miss something? Virtual slap, send us your links now!

Lakers Making a Statement!

The Lakers have made a big statement to finish this road trip. Beating the Cavs and Celtics ON THE ROAD. Not easy to do, but right now they've got momentum.

I like what they're doing, but I'm always cautious about them. I wonder if they're playing on a Bynum's-out-high. Odom has clearly seen that he's got to step up, I wonder if it's going to be a constant from him. If it is, this team is on a clear title run. If not, I'm worried.

On Tuesday, LA is back at home against the Thunder. That is what I would call a borderline drop off game. You sweep a road trip, beat some of the elite, then play one of the worst teams record wise. Even though everyone sees the elite play the elite, it's Tuesday's game that makes a title winner a title winner. It's about kicking everyones ass every night!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tonights Sched: Go Out and Party!

If you're an NBA fan, tonight is not your night to watch basketball! Go OUT and try not to turn on league pass or NBA TV if you can!

Your buddy's or girl busy tonight? Sucks for you, but if you must watch a circular ball go into a circular basket, I'd watch Miami at Philly. Why: because this game will be the your best bet to entertain the lonely.

So, go out and don't be like Nick Young and JaVale McGee.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Tonights Sched: W/E...

Tonight the schedule is kind of weak in the NBA. While there are some games that will be entertaining, those games will feature teams that aren't playing for a ring. This week has been filled with a lot of equal matches. I guess we've been spoiled.

The Raps are coming off of a hard fought loss against the Lakers, the Hornets have lost four straight, three of those at home. Sounds like CB4 is doubtful. This sounds like a formula for a Hornets win, easy. But I want to see what kind of effort the Raps will come out with. If it's similar to the way they played LA-that's good-win or lose. If they come out flat, it shows that they are not as confident without their star. I'm not saying you should expect to dominate without him, but you should always give your best effort.

For all of you betting online, the Hornets are favored to win by three. If Bosh isn't playing, I'd say that's a very good bet.

(Other Previews: Hornets247)

Honorable mentions-
Portland at Oklahoma City-
The only reason being is they play good teams very tough. (Preview from Welcome to Loud City)
Orlando at Indiana-
I want to see if Granger looks any better, maybe a high scoring game also.
(Preview from Third Quarter Collapse)

If you wanna see a Friday blowout...
Watch the Jazz beat up on the Kings. They are coming off of a blowout against the Mavs, so this one should be winnable with their eyes closed.

Lakers Now Own Finals Tie Breaker!

The Lakers and Celtics faced off last night and LA has sweep the season series now, winning 110-109. It was pretty close the whole way, but the parts to remember are the fourth quarter. You could see both teams really wanted to win, lots emotion in this one.

Kobe was clutch late, but the difference maker was a balanced offensive attack. In the last couple of games, the offense has come from Pau and Kobe. Last night, we saw two starters that need to step up, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher, combine for 33 points. That is key if they want to get anywhere in the playoffs. I also think the Lakers bench played better than the Celts bench. Besides Eddie House getting off, their offense wasn't very fluid. They (Celtics) need another player that can fill it up-someone similar to House, maybe at the small forward spot.

This is also a very nice road trip for LA. They are proving they don't just need to be in LA to win. If they can beat Cleveland on Sunday, that will make them 6-0 on the trip.

So, LA has home court advantage should there be a tie breaker. This is big, LA is much better at home and they got whipped in Boston during last years finals.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Scoop With Sam Amico!

Each week we talk to someone who's doing his thing covering this game we love! This week we have Sam Amico, editor of ProBasketballNews, a great site to go to for analysis and news.

1. So which team would you say is playing the best ball right now?

I think overall, my answer would have to be Cleveland. They have only had one "bad" loss (at Washington) and the type of superstar in LeBron James that can carry them to a title. They are very, very good and get little-to-no credit.

2. The injury bug seems to really around right now. Of all the teams with big injuries, which team needs the most help at a certain spot (eliminating the Magic's point guard spot, we know that's bad)?

The Raptors could use some help at forward, considering you never know the status of Jermaine O'Neal. Also, Chris Bosh has been banged up for most of the season. They could also use a backup point guard. Even though Jose Calderson is playing, he's been playing hurt.

3. You have made the case for Mo Williams to be included on the All-Star team. Why not Ray Allen? A quick summary of your argument would do.

It's not that I'm picking Williams over Allen. I'm just echoing LeBron and a few others (like Reggie Miller), who say that every other team that's been near the top of the NBA standings -- Boston, Orland and the Lakers -- has at least TWO All-Stars. The Cavs only have one. That's ridiculous. (UPDATE: Allen has now been picked, I'm sure Sam scowls!)

4. Do you ever get caught up in the 2010 hype? I like to look at the NBA today, only making little predictions about tommorow and the years to come.

I hate the 2010 hype. It seems that too many fans and members of the media get caught up in the old "wait until next year" mode. It's a bunch of baloney that's formulated by the marketing departments of bad teams. They are trying to fool their fans into thinking there's a rebuilding plan in place. Hogwash! The Kings stink RIGHT NOW, and that is all that should matter to their fans. Who cares about two years from now? A lot in life can change between now and then. And I mean A LOT. It's all about the here and now.

5. Which team in that lower level of the Eastern conference standings looks the best now? I'm talking about that 6-10 range, where the range is about a 2.5 difference as you look through them.

I'm not sure one looks better than the other -- they've all been terribly inconsistent, which is why they are where they are. But since you asked, I would say the Knicks and Bobcats will be battling it out in the final month for the final playoff spot. They're both very well-coached and are fairly close to put it together.

6. Now the NBA has added Horse to the All Star Saturday. This makes me think we should take a closer look at the D-League All-Star game. Do you concur on the increasing value of what's going on in the D-League.

I think the NBA is still figuring out how best to utilize the D-League. Minor league basketball is a tough, tough sell. I enjoy watching it, but I'm an absolute die-hard -- and since I'm credentialed, I don't have to pay to go to games. I don't know that I'd watch if I did have to pay. But there's no doubt the D-League has always served its purpose, and that is to develop talent for the NBA. I'd actually like to see any players younger than the age of 20 have to spend at least the first month of the season there.

7. Over the summer we saw some solid NBA players take the treck to Europe. It seems like the Russia experience wasn't very popular. Greek seems to be OK. If you were a player looking for a better situation, how would the American player to Europe results influence your descision?

I would say it would have a negative influence on it. Josh Childress reportedly is unhappy, having a difficult time adjusting to a different culture and the fact fans overseas have no trouble showing disgust at Americans who don't come right in and save their franchise. There's no pro basketball league in the world that will offer the perks of the NBA, and Childress is certainly finding that out. If I couldn't play basketball in the U.S., I would likely just try to get a job as a writer - haha.

8. What is your favorite moment so far this season?
Honestly, it was a game a few weeks back between Oklahoma City and Golden State -- in which Thunder forward Jeff Green banked in a shot at the buzzer to win it. I've seen a few Thunder games this year, and I can tell you those guys really, really want to win. Green, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were all winners at the lower levels, and you can see the looks on their faces when they lose. It's kind of sad, because they've been so snake-bitten this season. They have lost a lot of games in the final moments. So when Green hit that shot, they were all jumping around like high school kids who had just won a state title. To me, that's what sports are all about -- just as much as the great teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Cavs, etc.

9. Which team is most likely to can the season and why?
I wouldn't be surprised if the Pistons mail it in soon. Michael Curry looks to be in way over his head, and the deal for Allen Iverson has not worked out. Rasheed Wallace still has some good games, but looks old on too many nights. They just don't look like they're enjoying themselves at all.

10. How do you see the playoffs playing out?
In the East, I see Detroit losing in the first round, Miami upsetting someone (maybe Orlando) and Cleveland beating Boston in six games in the conference championship to reach the Finals. In the West, the Lakers should breeze through it, even without Bynum, because the West isn't nearly as good at the top as it used to be. Dallas and Phoenix are down, and Houston still can't get healthy. San Antonio is the only team that could give the Lakers a run, but the Spurs don't seem to match up very well. I just think Phil Jackson's system is better suited for the playoffs than Gregg Popovich's. If Jackson has some players, the Lakers will win every time. The Lakers will then beat the Cavs in six to win the title.

Thanks Sam! Be sure to check out ProBasketballNews!

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Tonights Sched: Short, but Sweet!

Only three games on tap, but everyone's going to catch at least one!

Lakers at Celtics
You have to be intrigued by this match up. But Boston hasn't lost since January 11th, and they should keep rolling. LA is coming off of a close win against the Raps and Kobe will probably be only 75-85% Kobe. The C's will probably try to make the other Lakers beat them. They know that pretty much everyone besides Pau hasn't had a big game in a while.

So, for you people betting, the Celtics are favored by seven. I'd go with the Celts. It may be close through two quarters, or the Celtics will come out with one of those, we're going to kick your ass first quarters. If that happens, there's no contest.

Follow me on Twitter for in game updates!

Talk Around The Hardwood- Feb. 5

Follow us on our link journey throughout the NBA!
  • InGameNow, via Page 6. Kobe tipped a waitress $2000-all he drank was water!
  • Talking Points. The mid-season NBA all no-defense team.
  • DraftExpress. Checking in on Russell Westbrook's progress in Oklahoma City.
  • Hoops World. Magic Land Lue, is it enough?
  • Basketbawful. Funny Mount Rushmore pic with NBA players on it!
  • on 205th. Hotty Cameron Richardson-light link of the day!
Following my link to Hoops World-do you think the Lue trade is enough? I feel it may be, but they won't win a championship either way.


Google News Blurb of the Day!

This is to make up for yesterdays lack of a blurb.

I searched NBA into Google News, switched to stories within the last hour. I got a story about the Nation Beef Association! Apparently beef farmers are getting a double boost!

So, who's your favorite beef farmer? Farmer Bryant, farmer James? Any younger up and coming beef farmers?

Bulleted Thoughts on Last Nights Action

I caught a couple of games last night and I have some things to say!
  • Cavs-Knicks. Not a tremendous game, but it had its moments.

  • LJ had 52, this makes for Kobe and LJ carrying an average of 48.5 percent of their teams points (in their games against the Knicks).
  • Big Z looked a bit better. His shot still isn't going down with its normal frequency, but he's getting there. I heard Mike Brown call for a pick and pop a couple of times and Z hit on just about every other open look.

  • I wonder how much practice will figure into him getting his shot. I know the Cavs are a close team and maybe LJ can stir him into form.
  • The Knicks may want to consider getting the ball out of superstars hands. Clearly LJ and Kobe are going to be effective somehow, but they can't let them get into such great rhythm offensively.

  • Can Clyde Fraiser be a little less repetitive? I mean, I think he does an OK broadcasting job, but he loves a couple of words, tantalizing, and continuity. He must say those words almost two times a quarter (sometimes more)

  • Something I tweeted last night: how many hairs does D'Antoni pull out per game? He really gets crazy on the Knicks bench. He has got to be the funniest coach when it comes to reacting to calls. A lot of his reactions come in bunches as well.

  • Lakers-Raps. Overall solid effort from the Raptors. Kobe was just Kobe and the Raptors didn't have CB4 late (sprained right knee).

  • Kobe and Pau offensive percentage watch-Kobe and Pau went for 58% of the offense last night. Not bad, but still a little too much. Over the last two games Pau and Kobe have put up 65% of all Laker points. That's a problem that Odom, Ariza and DFish need to change.

  • We had a Chris Mihm sighting-in the first half! That was surprising, in the limited time I saw him, he didn't look to be in sync with what LA was doing.

  • Radmanovic still doesn't look good. I expect more from him, I bet his road performance is a lot worse than when LA was at home.

  • If Bosh is out for a bit, look for this team to fall into the gutter.

What was the best moment from last nights action? Let's hear in the comments!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

Our daily NBA link journey!
  • Welcome to Loud City. Thunder mascot to come after the All-Star break; hopefully it doesn't leak like everything else did about the relocation!
  • Hoops Addict. One-On-One with Darius Miles, he sounds like he's doing well.
  • Peachtree Hoops. The Many Sides of Josh Smith-great post about the ups and downs of JSmoov.
  • The Hoop Doctors. Why are NBA Players Mistiming The Big Balls Dance?
  • Deadspin. (On Gerald Wallace's broken ribs and his 2,400 mile bus trip to LA) "No word on if he will bring 12 drunk women in an effort to find true love."
Did we miss the best link of the day? Send us your links through the contact form!

Tonights Sched: Good, Not Great

Tonight there are 11 games on tap tonight in this league we call the NBA. Some are assumed to be blowouts, but don't sleep on Denver at Oklahoma City (Melo stole there last match up with a late three). Orlando against the minor league LA team (the Clips), you don't need to bother putting on.

Cavs at Knicks
The only reason this game could really catch my eye is a LeBron explosion. While some would think that he would want to top Kobe's 61, this game should be more about Big Z. He is coming back from injury and has gone 8-24 from the field in the last two games. This game needs to be about getting him going from the perimeter. While he may be one of the tallest guys on the floor, 63% of his shots are jump shots. The Cavs can't go far with Z averaging 9.5 points per game (his average over the last two games). So, look for LJ to once again test Z's jumper early and if he's going, look for a high assist night from Bron.

Portland at Dallas
Portland lost to Dallas last time, they should get revenge in this one. I don't like what Dallas has done this year, so I'm picking Portland solely based on favoritism. That's how you preview a game!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Talk Around The Hardwood

Our link journey around the league!
  • Forum Blue and Gold. "Last night was also a reminder that even without Bynum, this team is still a contender. This is not the team that went to the Finals last year — this is the team that went to the Finals with Trevor Ariza added to the mix and a year of experience for the then-overwhelmed younger players. This team is very, very good."
  • Welcome to Loud City. (On Desmond Mason Injury) "You can't give up 28 points per quarter and win games, you just can't, especially when you're not a Mike D'Antoni coached team. The Thunder are going to have to rely on some of the young blood on the team to pick up the slack defensively, otherwise its going to be a long few months left in the season.
  • Third Quarter Collapse. Great slew of updates on Jameer Nelson's injury.
  • Cuzoogle. Crush of the week-gotta have something to lighten up the day!
  • Denver Nuggets 24/7. Could Melo or Billups become All-Star reserves after all?

So it seems like players are getting hurt left and right. So here's my question to readers: who are your top substitutes for the All-Star game (if there are more star injuries)? It seems as though the West may have more openings, but East candidates are welcomed as well!

We want to hear from you in the comments!!

The Kobe Show: NYC is Invited

Last night was Kobe's night to shine. If you haven't heard by now, he put an incredible 61 points. A whopping 48.4% of all Lakers points. It wasn't one of those 40 shot nights either, just 31 shots and 20-20 from the line.

All of Kobe's points pretty much deflated the Knicks. They came out and tried to make a run in the third, but Kobe and others kept them at bay. If they would have come out and hit shots, especially the OMG how did you miss that shots, they might have been closer.

Sure, Kobe had a game to remember, but it's also a bad thing for LA. Here's a big stat from last night: Kobe and Pau combined for 72.2% of Lakers points. Win or not, that has to be a concern for the Lakers. While these two guys may be All-Stars, they will not always be on. What about when Boston and Cleveland defend those two and leave guys like DFish open? They have to contribute and find their offensive rythum early in games.
Vlade "What the hell is the triangle offense" Radmanovic was horrible. He looked clueless in his limited minutes. I don't know if it's lack of playing time, or what, but he has to come out and perform. He must make shots, that's really all he can do (sorry, you gotta show me something Vladamir!). On D, he needs to force his man out of the post. If he can do that, he can be halfway decent of defense. He just can't defend the post, same with the Knicks Danilo Gallinari.
Photo by: Kathy Willens

Monday, February 02, 2009

Google News Blurb of The Day!

Todays headline that caught my eye from Google News was about Kevin McHale.

After a five year absence, a Timberwolves head coach received a coach of the month award! Nice, but kind of bitter sweet: everyone knows it won't last. They have lost to the Lakers and Cavs easily; the odds are against them. But, I have to give them credit. Foye has been better, the whole team is a bit healthier and they are improving.

Too bad they'll still be in the lottery for a couple years.

Talk Around The Hardwood

Just so you know: Every now and then I am going to take a look around at some of the better NBA sites and blogs and link to what I think deserves a look (one of my goals is to find some things you might not).
  • By The Horns. Even Derrick Rose has flaws, who knew!
  • Welcome to Loud City. Thunder Girl of the Week, something to start the week off right.
  • Ball Don't Lie. Manu has a new poster with Hilton Armstrong.
  • The Dream Shake. Is it Von "Hot Grease" Wafer time?
  • Canis Hoopus. Now that Rashad McCants' broke up with Khloe Kardashian in late January, will his stats go up? Someone should research how players do after a breakup.

Tonights Schedule: Lace 'Em Up!

The schedule in the NBA looks like a beauty tonight. There are two or three games worth watching. Let's get this Monday rolling.

Lakers at Knicks
Based on their last meeting, a 116-114 win for LA, this one will be an exciting, offensive battle. In the game at Staples, LA put up an average of 58 per half, while the Knicks put up an average of 57 per half. What more could you ask for? Each team will be running, maybe more than last time.

The Lakers will probably be without Andrew Bynum in this game. I am going to watch to see how this changes their offensive approach to the game. They are likely to run more, since one of their post scorers will be out. Pau will have to pick up the load offensively. Radmanovic and Josh Powell will also get more of a run without Bynum. The issue with that is I don't think Powell fits for this game. It's too quick of a pace for him to be effective offensively. He'll need to make his mark by patrolling the paint and pulling down rebounds.

In Knickerland, this is being described as "Hell" week. They have the Lakers, Cavs and Celtics at home. This is an important stand for them. I am also interested in seeing Danilo Gallinari's progression. I saw him in some of his first games this year, but he is still raw in areas. I am particularly interested in his one on one defense. A guy like Trevor Ariza could cause him all kinds of problems, he needs to perform tonight.

Blazers at Hornets
To be honest, these are two teams I haven't seen enough of. I have seen the Blazers at times, but not much of the Hornets (besides seeing the Magic blowing them out on Christmas day). I want to see how Portland plays on the road, especially in a loud place like New Orleans. If Roy ever switches onto Paul that could be fun to see.